Are bacon and eggs for breakfast healthy?
Posted: Jan 27, 2021
Trends in diet and official recommendations as to what is the better healthy diet changes over time. The changes are due to better understandings of what consists of healthy diet, the understanding of the physiological effects of different foods and just what the research is showing. Some of the research is contradictory and some expert opinions do not agree. What is important that bandwagons are not jumped on based on what one particular guru might have to say. What matters is what the preponderance of the research and experts say by general consensus. Unfortunately, that message based on the preponderance of the research and the experts often gets drowned out in the noise of the gurus and pseudo experts.
A good example of the changing tide over time could be having the classic old school bacon and eggs for breakfast. Both bacon and eggs have had a bad wrap over the years falling in and out of favour. For example, the bad news for bacon is that in October 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer which is part of the World Health Organization declared that processed meat, which includes bacon, as a "group 1 carcinogen." This means there is enough evidence that eating these types of foods can increase the risk for colon or stomach cancer. Another problem is that bacon is also usually part of a not so healthy meal like having it with toast and butter or in a sandwich with lots of mayonnaise and other processed meats. This means that bacon is not necessarily the problem, it the unhealthy meal that could often be consumed with it. On the other side of the coin, bacon has a high fat content but some of those fats are of the healthy kind. Bacon also contains oleic acid which is a heart healthy essential fatty acid.
Eggs are an inexpensive food that has had concerned raised about the amount of cholesterol in them, but this is somewhat overstated. Dietary cholesterol has less of an impact on the cholesterol levels in your blood than the other types of fats. Eggs are high in protein which can help build and maintain muscle tissue. Of importance in older people are diets high in protein to help the loss of muscle tissue. Eggs contain the B vitamins and vitamins A, D, E and K as well as phosphorous and trace amounts of other minerals.
A recent new report from the CSIRO in Australia confirmed the benefits of eating more protein at breakfast and that this can help in weight loss. This means that a bacon and eggs for breakfast can help lose weight. The report advocated that up to at least 25g protein intake in the mornings can help starve off unhealthy cravings. The rationale behind the report is that the typical diet is protein heavy towards the evening meal and that the protein intake should be spread out more evenly during the day with more of an emphasis on the morning meal. There is no harm in having a reasonable portion of bacon and eggs for breakfast, the breakfast of champions.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.